Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days - Arcadia, LA on June 6, 2003

Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives invaded the stage with an infectious spirit that simply turned the house upside down. Wielding his treasured mandolin, Stuart announced that they were a discount bluegrass band before breaking into "Baby You Know My Mind." With lighting fast fingers, he put his musicianship on display and the crowd held nothing back in returning its appreciation and delight. As the song was interrupted repeatedly with wild applause, Stuart gleefully attacked his set with trademark flair and enthusiasm.

Following with such gems as "The Whiskey Aint Workin Anymore," his hit Travis Tritt, Stuart was eager to share the spotlight with the three men making up the Superlatives. Their rich, layered harmony on the mournful, gospel staple "Get Down on Your Knees and Pray" electrified the night as if it were truly coming down from the mountains themselves. Porter Waggoner's "A Satisfied Mind" and Ricky Skaggs' "Let It Be You" were highlights as well.

But possibly the most fun came the interplay with the audience as Stuart responded to requests from the audience and playfully engaged them in his show. When a gentleman came to the foot of the stage and offered $20, Stuart playfully took the bill. But he then strapped on his mandolin and gave a flawless solo, infused with finger work that could only come from the gods and a melody so clear and crisp it practically shattered the very air it permeated. It was a wonder to behold. He ripped into a sparkling rendition of his signature song, "Hillbilly Rock," that virtually did the impossible. He showed that it is indeed possible to improve on the original. This song never sounded better.

Stuart also shared memories from his long tenure on the road with country legends such as Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the father of Bluegrass himself, Bill Monroe. He spoke openly and affectionately of the influence that each had on his life and career and one couldn't miss the reverence he holds for those who laid the grounds for him to walk on. In fact, his own Electric Barnyard Tour kicks off this summer with another legend in tow -- Merle Haggard, as well as Rhonda Vincent, BR549, and his wife Connie Smith will be along as the troupe hits small towns across the country as if it were the old days again.

When another $10 came his way, Stuart used the opportunity to bring up young people from the audience to perform with him. The pint-sized pickers played along side the star on Rawhide before taking the lead on "I Saw the Light." And with the audience on its feet in thunderous applause and the children beaming from the stage, you could almost catch a glimpse of a young Marty Stuart with his own idols more that 30 years ago. That very mountain music had taken him away from his Mississippi roots and onto a path of unparalleled musical wonder and adventure. And now it was his turn to continue the musical legacy he is certainly a part of. Just feel that breeze blow. Mountain music is alive and well in the rolling hills of north Louisiana. And here's to that tradition continuing.

Review by Cathi Cox

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